Mount Kimbie Swerve Into 'The Sunset Violent'

BY Spencer Nafekh-BlanchettePublished Apr 3, 2024


When Mount Kimbie co-founders Dominic Maker and Kai Campos decided it was time to begin work on a new album, the first thing the pair did was abandon their respective lives – Dominic working as a songwriter in Los Angeles and Kai spinning hardware DJ sets throughout England – and run off. They found themselves in a remote Californian town, with little to offer besides a few saloons, a basin known for its numerous alleged UFO sightings, and a not-so-bad sushi spot in the middle of the desert. 

Taking the strange (and perhaps surreal) qualities of the time they spent there back to their new full-time bandmates Andrea Balency-Béarn and Marc Pell, the quartet proceeded to create Mount Kimbie's fourth studio album, The Sunset Violent. Nearly fifteen years since the band's debut, The Sunset Violent is oftentimes soft and subdued, sometimes fast and exciting, but constantly strange and disorienting in the best of ways.

The group hits the ground running with album opener "The Trail,"  a near-three minute instrumental with all the otherworldly synths, keyboard melodies and effects that give Mount Kimbie their signature sound. Things slow down (if only a little bit) with "Dumb Guitar," a shoegaze swirl circled by Balency-Béarn's hypnotic vocals — lost at sea, she longs for something she knows lies within her.

Those two opening tracks can act as a stand-in to describe the majority of the album: the band are at their best when releasing the most of their bizarre energy and not straying too far from the path. The penultimate "Yukka Tree" is a bleary, reverb-heavy track that doesn't cover much territory (for a Mount Kimbie song, at least) in its over-three-minute runtime. Same with King Krule-featuring "Boxing": It's difficult to tell whether the latter sounds uninspired here (especially in the shadow of "Blue Train Lines") or if he's simply being King Krule. Yet, as the only feature on the project, he redeems himself on closer "Empty and Silent," which begins with subdued ambient synths before slowly working into a wickedly fun alt-rock jaunt with Archy Marshall complaining about daily mundanity while Balency-Béarn backs him up with her beautiful humming. 

The Sunset Violent's calmer moments are like whispers in the dark: they might pull you in if you listen closely. But those moments are fleeting and ephemeral, with the album's strongest moments coming from the band's sense of frantic urgency. On The Sunset Violent, Mount Kimbie throw things at the wall and see what sticks — those flung with high velocity make the most impact.


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